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Capital Community Gets Grant to Study City’s Heritage

Andy Hart

December 23, 2010

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded $98, 645 over two years to Capital Community College. Spearheaded by Capital’s Chair of Humanities, Dr. Jeffrey Partridge, the grant will provide the college’s Humanities faculty with the opportunity to study Hartford’s history, literature, communities and culture by interacting with scholars at area institutions to ultimately stimulate course content that will engage students. “The goal,” said Partridge, “is to make Hartford an extension of our classrooms.”

Capital is the only public undergraduate college in Hartford, and the only college in Connecticut designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the federal government. Many Capital students have lived in Hartford their entire lives, and most remain in Hartford after graduation and further education. Despite this, many are unfamiliar with Hartford’s history. By bringing students face-to-face with this city’s remarkable past, it is anticipated they will become active participants in Hartford’s present and future.

“By connecting our students with the cultural institutions at our doorstep – by engaging them with Hartford’s rich and diverse arts and culture – we hope to see our students get excited about the place they call home,” said Partridge. “We want them to be catalysts for change and believe this grant will have an enormous impact on our Humanities department, our college, and most importantly, our students.”

The broad theme for the courses is “Hartford’s Heritage,” and they will be designed to engage students through writing and a combination of Humanities disciplines: art, music, history, literature, theatre, and philosophy. Research suggests that when students are engaged in themed courses, writing becomes purposeful and interesting. During this two-year project, twelve members of Capital’s Humanities Department will take part in a series of eighteen seminars and workshops that will prepare them to design and implement new courses to connect their students with Hartford’s heritage. Seminars will be taught by invited speakers on themed writing courses, learning communities, Hartford history, ethnic/immigrant communities in Hartford, and artists and authors of Hartford. Workshops on Hartford will be held at sites of interest, and include The Mark Twain House, The Wadsworth Atheneum, The Old State House, Hartford Stage, The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, The Hartford Public Library, Center for Urban Research, Education and Training (CURET), Asylum Hill Congregational Church, St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church, and Leadership Greater Hartford. Participants will read books and other materials in advance of each seminar.

“This is an outstanding initiative that will have a tremendous impact on student learning, the college and Hartford,” said Dr. Wilfredo Nieves, Capital’s president. “We are fortunate to be surrounded by rich cultural institutions that are ideal for humanistic study and experience, and this grant will allow us to establish relationships with these institutions that will enhance the college’s writing courses, and transform our humanities curriculum, and the lives of our students.”

Reprinted with permission of the The Hartford News.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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